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New York Islanders

Missing Out on Kadri Not the Issue, Standing Pat is



Nazem Kadri, New York Islanders

With Nazem Kadri signing a seven-year deal with the Calgary Flames, the New York Islanders now have to pivot to Plan C after missing out on him and Johnny Gaudreau.

However, this one should not sting as bad as losing out on the Gaudreau sweepstakes.

Kadri, who will turn 32 in October, now had a cap hit of $7 million. He will be 38 years old when the contract expires.

Looking at the aging curve of most players, their point production seems to drop off between the ages of 35 and 37. That accounts for the last 2-4 years of Kadri’s deal. And looking at his sample size, there is no guarantee he will be the same player he was last season again.

Would he have helped the New York Islanders? Yes. But sometimes the best available player is not the right player. Sometimes the moves you don’t make end up being the best moves.

We spoke about how the New York Islanders would need to move a centerman out of position to fit Kadri into the plans. With Mat Barzal, Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Casey Cizikas making up the center core, there wasn’t exactly a good spot for Kadri.

The idea of throwing Barzal on the wing is out there, but when you look at what Nelson and Pageau provide — steady play in the defensive zone with a strong enough offensive clip on a good year — it begins to get redundant.

The issue is not that the New York Islanders did not get Kadri. It’s that they did not upgrade their offense, bring in that elite forward, above-average forward that has been a need since the John Tavares days.

Mathew Barzal is a pending RFA and has not been given that elite player to play with. What’s enticing him to sign long-term?

New York’s biggest need was offensive firepower. It was why they were reportedly in the running to land Gaudreau following his 115-point season with the Flames.

Just because Kadri was the best player available, it did not make him the best fit for the Islanders. The question becomes, what does Lou Lamoriello do to bolster his club because right now, they are still missing that legitimate scorer to achieve the goal of winning a Stanley Cup.

Now the offseason is not done and moves will still be made by the New York Islanders. But is an offensive upgrade part of those plans or is it more about re-signing players and bringing in a depth piece like Sonny Milano?

One of which is J.T. Miller, who the Islanders were reportedly interested in at the NHL Draft. Before trading for Alexander Romanov, they were close to acquiring the 6-foot-1 forward in a deal that would have sent their first-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks before it fell through.

Miller, like Kadri, is coming off of a career season where he hit 32 goals and 99 points in 80 games.

Phil Kessel, at the very least, could be a temporary option, last resort kind of thing, as he does provide offense. But his struggles in his defensive zone make him a liability that the Islanders may not want to deal with.

The Islanders still have an issue and that’s their cap situation. Even if they are not signing a player like Nazem Kadri, but trade for a player like a J.T. Miller or even going after a player not being discussed, a contract has to be moved.

The problem is, and it’s likely what went wrong with clearing space for Nazem Kadri, is that for an opposing team to take on a contract, a pick needs to be added. And with the New York Islanders already trading their first-round pick at the NHL Draft, and other picks in the past, how much more do they want to give away?

Clearly, to the Islanders, the asking price for a player like Josh Bailey or Anthony Beauvillier did not make sense in the grand scheme of things.

We still have over a month before the NHL season begins. The question becomes will the New York Islanders add a difference maker or is the group from 2021-22, the group that will run it back in 2022-23?

Sammi Silber contributed to the piece


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